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Monday, November 30, 2015

Imagining Sanity

Sometimes it feels like the whole world has had some kind of massive head trauma. Many if not most people seems to operate on a misguided survival instinct that spends much of its time trying to identify the other and then acting violently against anyone and everyone who resembles that other. Many if not most politicians spend their time throwing gasoline on the fire and denying things which cannot reasonably be denied, such as the existence of domestic radical Christian terrorism and terrorists. We seem to have voluntarily donned blinders which distort reality to conform to our comfort level, and our comfort level is reprehensibly low.

What is the solution? To be honest, I cannot find a solution that can be implemented quickly. As a nation we have a massive educational deficit that, with the truly lethal combination of corrupt politicians and an apathetic electorate, shows no signs of abating. When you add to that educational deficit an unprecedented level of anger, you have a perfect storm of epic and absurd proportions. It seems to be open season on Muslim Americans. The police seem to have declared open season on people of color. Radical Christians have declared open season on women and their bodies. Progressives are castigated for not responding to these transgressions forcefully enough, as if the solution were a shooting war.

As I have said before, I believe the solution will be found when every special interest group clamoring for special attention and status finds their appeals falling on deaf ears and when every group begging for special attention is met with a disinterested yawn. We simply must see that we are all inseparably interconnected and the result us that what diminishes one of us diminishes all of us. We must see that there is nothing special about being black, white, brown, yellow, red, or green - these qualities just are. What's more, there is nothing special about being Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jain, Shinto, peacticing Indigenous Spirituality, New Age, Wicca, New Thought, Atheism, being SBNR, or anything else - these things just are. There is nothing all that wonderful about being conservative, moderate, progressive, or not giving a damn; nothing special about dwelling in a city, its suburbs, or in the country.  These things are all simply choices, none more or less valuable than the other. Until we come to see this and stop lobbying for our special interest, we will only reinforce the in group and out group divide that leads to the kind of hatred and misguided loyalty to a cause that makes someone load their rifle or strap on a suicide vest.

Maybe we really don't want peace or even safety. After all, the wisdom that we are all interconnected is more than 2500 years old and still most of us don't seem to want to hear it. The truth that radicalized religion isn't really religion at all but a perverse and violent selfishness masquerading as religion. Seeing this truth would take away the little justification we need to go to war, and it may be that rich people throughout history have loved nothing more than sending other people to die at war. At least, a long time ago, leaders led the troops into battle instead of hiding inside the White House, the halls of Congress and the Pentagon.

My position isn't popular because it speaks against the drive all of our egos provide us with to want to feel special. We need to know that we matter, and for some unknown reason we believe the only way we can be special is if we identify someone else as less than special. That's where all the trouble starts, and so it is what we will need to resolve if we want the trouble to end.